That’s a wrap.
There’s an art to writing well – about food, film, or anything else that sparks a person’s passion. For Jonathan Gold, it’s the cafes, restaurants and food trucks, the sights, sounds and people of Los Angeles that inspire. The only food critic to win a Pulitzer Prize, the popular writer serves as the genial focus of the aptly yclept new documentary City of Gold. Gaetano Kazuo Maida and Patricia Unterman, Bay Area writers and Renaissance sorts, offer their insights into the film and its centerpiece in Critics Corner in this week’s edition of EatDrinkFilms.
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| Critics Corner
Writers Patricia Unterman and Gaetano Kazuo Maida go for the gold in this week’s Critics Corner with reviews of the engaging documentary City of Gold, director Laura Gabbert’s affectionate portrait of Jonathan Gold, the Pulitzer Prize-winning L.A. food critic who, she says, taught her to love Los Angeles and its culinary and cultural diversity.
There aren’t very many of us who actually have worked as food critics for print publications. I did it for 15 years at the San Francisco Chronicle and for about 15 more at the San Francisco Examiner. Way back when I started, no editorial wall stood between advertising and criticism, at least when it came to restaurants. If a restaurant advertised, it got written up. To the Chronicle’s credit, it changed its policy shortly before I was hired, but it left me to make up the rules about fairness (number of visits, anonymity, paying for everything) and conflict of interest; I happened to co-own and cook at a restaurant in San Francisco.
Actress Mindy Kaling (The Office) once famously tweeted: “One slice of pizza in the Hollywood area? Don’t Jonathan Gold me and tell me to go to the San Gabriel Valley goddammit ….”
If there was ever any doubt about the U.S. being a land of immigrants, a polyglot of disparate peoples continuously arriving and morphing here, L.A. put that to rest. The City of Angels is a vast and diverse sprawl of hundreds of discrete communities whose borders are indistinct to the casual observer. Jonathan Gold is no casual observer, and he uses food as his door into the many cultures of Los Angeles, his hometown, and maps a geography that few will be able to experience as fully.